United Healthcare and the national Youth Service America are writing checks for up to $1,000 to local community organizations that have a great idea for fighting childhood obesity.
Last year Cypress Trails Elementary School in West Palm Beach won one of their HEROES grants. They used the money to add 1,500 feet to the school’s walking trail, putting children to work cutting, trimming and clearing a path through the adjacent wooded area. The trail is now being used for fitness walks during the day.
Details on how to apply:
According to United Healthcare and YSA:
Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded to programs that demonstrate a clear understanding of the health risks associated with childhood obesity; propose creative solutions to fighting obesity in their schools and communities; and can be easily implemented, scaled and measured.
In addition, each grant also engages participating youth in service-learning, an effective teaching and learning strategy that supports student academic achievement, and helps students develop their workplace readiness skills.
To obtain an application, visit www.YSA.org/HEROES. The website also contains more information about the program as well as “First Responders: Youth Addressing Childhood Obesity Through Service-Leaning,” a step-by-step manual that helps youth, parents, teachers and other volunteers deploy YSA service-learning models to fight childhood obesity in their communities.
Applications must be submitted online before midnight, Oct. 17, 2011. Grant recipients will be notified in December and January.
In Florida, one-third of all children are obese or overweight. Fewer processed foods, more high-fiber fresh fruits and vegetables, and importantly, much more daily physical activity, are keys to keeping children healthier.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen time (TV, computers, video games) to two hours a day. The academy also recommends one hour a day of vigorous physical activity, low-fat milk products only, water instead of sweetened beverages, avoiding fast food, and eating more sit-down meals together at home, as a family.